I’ve been a bad blogger lately.
Overstacking my plate is a natural tendency of mine that reached new levels in the past few months.
But I don’t want to whine about my self-inflicted busy daze. I want to share some things I haven’t had time to write about. This could take a few days.
Let’s be honest.
After Charlie Machete, I wasn’t sure if we’d ever foster a dog again at Wayward House. Too much emotion and self-doubt surrounded the whole concept. What if we didn’t pay enough attention to our own aging forever dogs? What if we got too attached? What if we failed another dog?
I’m not kidding here. This stuff is heavy.
But I am so tied into the rescue community and have such a heart for dogs that I could not help myself from helping.
The opportunity to contribute to animal rescue was most definitely a motivating factor in the establishment of my business Beer Paws, which gives back a portion of all sales to the cause.
So was the creation of the Wayward Dog Foundation a few months later.
Yet from spring to December, I only ever brought one adoptable home for the night.
That was Razzy, on the night before he was adopted.
Through the rest of the summer and fall, I kept helping. I raised money. I networked.
Then, in November, I technically had a foster dog again.
He was black.
His name was Charlie.
He never made it to my house.
He barely lasted a week before bewitching my friend, Kennel Creek owner and Foundation co-founder Chris Sailors. (I think PJ Ruth of MOSH Pit KC must have somehow known that would happen when she called me about the poodle she encountered mid-surrender in the shelter lobby.)
Although a far cry from the challenge we faced before, this rescue win – and the successful rehoming of Foundation dogs Buckshot, Penny and Razzy – emboldened me.
So, a few weeks later I got real brave.
I told Zach I wanted to bring a Wayward Dog Foundation adoptable home “just for the night.”
Come back tomorrow for the full story.
Looking back is what people do at the end of a year.
We review in our minds the awesome, awful and weird things (because that’s the kind of stuff that sticks out in our memories) we’ve done or that have happened to us over the past 12 months.
Maybe we try to make sense of it all, or maybe we just catalog the incidents as individual souvenirs from a moment in time. Maybe we even let Facebook or Instagram do this all for us through an automatically generated montage of “significant” posts.
I’m no different than any of you.
The biggest moments of my 2013 have been on a constant loop in my head lately. And I don’t know about you, but for me 2013 was intense.
I really can’t remember another year in my life that has been so extreme.
Because this blog is about a little more than just dogs, if you’ve been following, you know 2013 brought death and disappearance to my human family. The dynamics of my canine pack also changed in an unhappy way.
I am not special for having experienced these things. Everyone on the earth experiences loss.
I can only imagine that they, too, experience it as a series of permanent holes in the heart, dark tunnels you ought to be mindful of exploring too late in the night or even too often during the day.
And yet, you can’t just forget these loved ones even though you can’t hug them anymore. You have to figure out how to carry them with you, to feel their influence but not their weight.
Because your life, your responsibilities – none of that stops.
In fact, if you are like me, you probably forge ahead while creating more responsibilities for yourself. That’s the other half of the reason my year was so intense.
In 2013, I accomplished things I never expected to do.
I co-founded a non-profit organization that helps save dogs.
And through it all, most miraculously, I got to celebrate another round of holidays with my impossibly ancient and beloved elderpin Scooby.
Cheers to 2014. I don’t know what’s in store, but I’m ready for the new year. Are you?
Thanks for reading this blog, and being part of my life in 2013. The community of kind souls who follow this blog and related social media channels make every day better.
The year is almost over.
Are you, like me, thinking about how you and your pet can live a healthier lifestyle?
If jogging is on your agenda, then you might want to check out the EzyDog Zero Shock Leash.
The EzyDog company is known for making quality products for active dogs. I’ve never owned any EzyDog items before and was excited at the opportunity to test out this leash. In fact, getting it has given me more motivation to get back into jogging.
After using the Zero Shock on Luke the golden retriever for several weeks now, I’ve rather fallen in love with it.
Here are four reasons I like this leash so much.
1. Comfort. If you have ever received a rope burn from a nylon leash, you will love the thought that went into this one. When you slip your wrist inside the loop handle of the Zero Shock Leash, you won’t end up gripping the nylon. Your grip soft neoprene.
2. Deliberate design. The Zero Shock Leash may be the weirdest looking leashes I have ever used. It’s part normal, and part stretchy. That’s because it is designed to do exactly what you expect – absorb the tug on the collar that your dog may feel as your arms move up and down while running. The only downside of this design is that it’s not a great option for dogs who pull. The leash absorbs so much shock that they can barely tell when you are tugging to correct them.
3. Safety handle. My favorite part of this leash is the second handle right by the collar attachment. The so-called “traffic control handle” provides close control. You slip your hand through the loop, just like at the top of the leash, except from here, you can manage your dog better in the event that another animal or person approaches too closely.
4. There’s a place to attach your Beer Paws bottle opener! Officially, I’m sure that EzyDog expects people to attach poop bags or other pet necessities on the accessory d-ring located just under the top handle. But the first thing I thought to attach was, of course, my company’s bottle openers for leashes.
What kind of leash do you use? Tell us about it in the comments!
Disclaimer: I received a free leash from EzyDog in exchange for my honest review.
Could there ever be too many pictures of Scooby the elderpin?
I think not. And I hope you agree.
In this week’s roundup of highlights from his 2013 adventures in modeling, I failed to include our most recent photo session.
Last Sunday, Scooby and I participated in Mosh Pit Kansas City‘s Posing for Pits Fundraiser. Local photo company Kansas City Flashback was taking holiday pet portraits, with 100% of proceeds benefiting pit bull rescue.
We got a few fun shots of Scooby alone, and some with his sweetheart (aka me).
You can check out the whole album on Facebook!
Do you want to help homeless pets this year?
There are many ways to do it. One is really easy. All you have to do is click Like.
Throughout the month of December, I have been rallying fans to help my Beer Paws business page reach 1,000 Likes.
If we can do that by December 31, Beer Paws will donate $100 to our featured shelter of the month, KC Pet Project.
KC Pet Project is the non-profit animal shelter that serves Kansas City, Missouri. Thousands of animals pass through this program every year, and following many years as a high-kill shelter, KCPP achieved no-kill status this year.
Establishing more foster parents for pets has been one key to the program’s improvement. I’m happy to say that a dog was pulled into foster under my name just a few weeks ago – and adopted soon after.
Another key element of KCPP’s success has been the establishment of play yards, where dogs get more exercise and socialization. Earlier in the month, the shelter had to raise $40,000 to improve the play yards to be in line with state standards.
Although that particular fiscal goal was met, there is always a need for donations to the shelter.
The $100 Beer Paws will donate, in addition to a percentage of all online sales for the month of December, will help feed and keep warm some dogs and cats this holiday season while they await their forever families.
By participating in my Like campaign, you can help this all happen.
As of this writing, the Beer Paws fan page has 771 Likes. That’s not bad, but time is running out.
We have 13 days to get 229 Likes. Will you help us get there?
To sweeten the deal, I’m offering a giveaway, open only to people who like Beer Paws on Facebook, and something else cool just got added to the pot.
So the winner of this giveaway will receive a bunch of Beer Paws swag and a Katty De Lux calendar.
Check out the Rafflecopter widget below. The first thing it will prompt you to do is Like Beer Paws!
Scooby the elderpin has been a busy dog model this year.
Lots of our photographer friends, old and new, have caught his cuteness on camera.
Consequently, I have a desire to hang his handsome mug on the wall.
Part of my holdup is the difficulty of deciding which images to have printed for framing or made into photo canvases.
Maybe you can help me choose. Here are a few of my favorite 2013 Scooby portraits.
Because I like wall decor that is super easy to hang, chances are strong that I’ll end up ordering some photo canvases of Scooby.
You can enter to win one of your pet in the Easy Canvas Prints holiday giveaway. Check out this blog post for details.
Disclosure: I received compensation from Easy Canvas Prints in exchange for spreading the word about this giveaway.
Christmas is almost here, and I have virtually no holiday shopping accomplished.
This is not unusual for me.
To be honest, I have barely begun thinking about what I want for myself this holiday season, either, even though
Scooby and Luke my Mom and Zach keep asking.
So, to satisfy them as well as Coupons.com, sponsor of today’s post, here are some things I wouldn’t mind finding under the tree this year. (Shocker – most everything relates to the dogs!)
Crystal’s Holiday Wish List
- A new winter coat for me and Scooby! Mine got torn last year on a visit to the farm where my dad takes care of elk and bison. Scooby’s ended up in the mouth of some other dog at some point, and now looks all ratty and tattered.
- Ceramic food and water dishes for the dogs! We currently use stainless steel bowls, and I hate them. They are noisy, and food sticks to them. Also, I hate drinking water out of stainless steel, and I wonder if the dogs do, too.
- A great bit electric mixer. I make a lot of beer biscuits – for my dogs, shelter dogs and my friends’ dogs. Mixing by hand is fun and all, but a electric mixer sure would be swell. (Props to my dad who hooked me up with a rolling pin a few months back when my substitution of an empty beer bottle for one horrified him.)
- A deep freeze. I can think of a lot of things, including beer biscuit batter, that I could put in a deep freeze. Currently, our standard freezer is often so full that things, like big bags of biscuit batter, are apt to fall on my foot when I open the door.
- Framed and canvas prints of the dogs to put on our walls. Scooby and Luke have each had their photos taken a lot this year, and I haven’t yet gotten any of the pictures printed, much less hung.
Now, if only I could get my family members and doggies to publish their holiday wish lists, too, I would be starting this week off under a lot less stress.
Luckily, Coupons.com has some inspiration for us all in the form of holiday gift guides for almost everyone on your list:
When you check out the guides, be sure to also enter the Coupons.com Holiday Sweepstakes. You could win $500 in e-Gift Cards!
You can also win a $200 Amazon.com gift card by entering the Holiday Blogger Giveaway below.
Just follow the directions in the Rafflecopter widget (or follow the link) to enter. You’ll be asked to like pages for a bunch of other great bloggers. Please take a moment to check them out if you can!
Disclosure: I received compensation from Coupons.com in exchange for writing this post.
Last night I met a remarkable woman at a downtown Christmas party in Kansas City.
Her name is Betty.
She has always lived in Kansas City. When she was a young girl, she lived on Country Club Plaza.
She really wanted a pet cat. However, her mother did not like cats. So her father brought Betty the next best thing.
A pet skunk.
Lady Esther’s scent glands had been removed, but she was still named for the perfume Betty’s mother wore and that her father didn’t like.
When Betty put a harness on Lady Esther and walked her around the neighborhood, people crossed the street to avoid them.
“She walked with her tail straight up!” Betty says.
When she wasn’t walking or cuddling with Betty, Lady Esther lived in their use. She used a litter box.
“She was just like a cat,” Betty says.
When Betty went to college, Lady Esther was given to a man who ran a barbecue restaurant. Unfortunately, Betty says Lady Esther must have eaten too much barbecue, for she didn’t live long after that.
After college, Betty went on to do work at a local nature center, helping orphaned squirrels and other creatures get strong enough to go back out in the wild. She also spent many years serving lunch to students in a Parkville, Missouri, cafeteria.
Sometimes she runs into them, when she’s out hunting hedge apples for craft projects.
Thanks for the lovely conversation, Betty! I wish you a very happy holiday season!
Readers: What’s the most unusual pet you have ever had or encountered?
Every year around this time, a certain old guy puts on his red suit at least once.
elderpin elferpin emerged in all his white-faced glory for the first time last weekend.
He got all dressed up in his Santa suit – and other outfits – for a photo session with our mustachioed friend Jacob Meyer of New Friends Photography & Design.
These are just a few of our favorite photos from the session. Which one do you like best?
You can view the whole photo collection on the Beer Paws Facebook page.
For a dog lover, it’s hard to enter a Mexican restaurant without thinking of Chihuahuas.
The little dogs are synonymous with the country and, thanks to Taco Bell, also linked strongly to Tex Mex cuisine.
On Monday night, I visited a much better Tex Mex chain. Chuy’s Restaurant recently arrived on Country Club Plaza, right in the heart of Kansas City.
The coming of Chuy’s was a big deal for my friend Megan. She went to school in Texas and during KC Pittie Pack walks I have heard her speak with much love about the drinks and the salsa and the overall experience of Chuy’s.
Listening to her talk, I think I always pictured a vaguely run-down, “authentic,” sit-down Mexican eatery. I had no idea.
Chuy’s is more like a quintessential 1950′s diner on Mexican acid. Seriously – eating at this place is a real trip.
At the Kansas City location, the walls of the entryway are plastered in old-fashioned cameras. Hundreds of them are glued to the wall.
From there, every area of the expansive dining area has a theme. There’s a palm tree room. There’s a hot rod room, where Zach and I sat. The ceiling is covered in hubcaps.
And there is even an area devoted to dogs. Chihuahuas get their own wall.
So do the dogs of the people who work there.
There is so much color and so much to look at that simply being at Chuy’s is an experience.
For that reason, I didn’t have high expectations for the food. But everything was honestly delicious.
We tasted a whole platter of different homemade salsas. I was impressed by the heat of even the pico de gallo that comes standard with every bowl of homemade chips.
We had a “Perfect Margarita” and a Texas Martini – both made strong enough that one was plenty.
For the main course, I ordered the Veggie Combination. The chile relleno was hands down the best I’ve ever eaten. The breading was crispy, the pepper was spicy and the cheese wasn’t greasy. On the other side of the plate, my enchilada was filled with actual vegetables, like squash and red pepper.
Don’t get me wrong, this was not a healthy meal. But it was good.
We ordered dessert, too, but I only got a few melt-in-your-mouth bites of the Tres Leches cake. By then, we’d received word that an elderpin had escaped our home and gotten picked up by our neighbor.
Maybe Scooby somehow knew when we left that we were headed for a really tasty meal, and he just wanted to come along.
I received compensation in the form of a meal in exchange for my honest review of Chuy’s Restaurant. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Want to try Chuy’s Restaurant for yourself? Enter the giveaway!
Chuy’s is wanting to help spread the word of their new Kansas City location by offering 5 readers the chance to win a “Dinner for Two” gift card valued at $30 which includes an appetizer, two entrees, a dessert and non-alcoholic drinks for two! Several local bloggers have teamed up to bring you this fantastic giveaway.
This giveaway will run from December 10 through December 16. Please enter if you live around the Kansas City area and are able to visit, or if you have family or friends you could gift the prize to. Good luck!
Participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Winner(s) will be verified, emailed and have 48 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen.